Bring on the four day work week. New research shows that working fewer hours and enjoying more downtime could forestall climate change. The Center for Economic Policy and Research claims that if the developing world eschews the American working model (long hours and very little vacation time) in favor of the European model, which advocates more reasonable work hours and plenty of time for leisure and holidays, the output of greenhouse gas emissions would slow and subsequent temperature rise could be cut in half by 2100.

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“The relationship between [shorter work and lower emissions] is complex and clearly understood, but it is understandable that lowering levels of consumption, holding everything else constant, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” US News reports quotes economist David Rosnick, who authored the study.

The premise is that factories and other workplaces consume vast quantities of energy, so by slashing output and work hours, and income, we would release less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There is a flaw in the study, according to Rosnick, since it is not predictable how people will spend their leisure time. If they are relaxing at home, then they are using less energy, but if they fly to some distant place for a holiday, then greenhouse gases will still be released.

Rosnick adds that fewer work hours need not spell less efficiency. As technology improves, we may be able to produce the same volume of output in fewer hours while cutting temperature rise by at least 1.3 degrees Celsius.

Via US World News